Germany needs to do more to combat anti-Semitism, official says

Germany must do more to tackle anti-Semitism and should set up a national database to record anti-Semitic incidents that are not included in crime statistics, the country’s first anti-Semitism commissioner Felix Klein said on Friday.

The former diplomat, who will take up the newly created position next month, also said anti-Semitism was still rooted largely in extreme right-wing ideology and was not only being driven by Germany’s growing Muslim population.

Anti-Semitism is a highly sensitive issue in Germany, whose Nazi-era government murdered more than 6 million Jews during the Holocaust.

“There are many things going on to combat anti-Semitism but all the efforts have to be coordinated and sharpened,” Klein told Reuters.

“I hear from Jewish communities that they feel that anti-Semitic attacks and incidents have risen but that there is not yet a serious database that underlines and supports that perception.”

He said a national database should include everything that is not considered criminal, such as vulgar behaviour and “stupid” comments. By drawing a more detailed picture, that would help authorities devise measures to combat anti-Semitism.

Last week, an Israeli Arab who wore the Jewish cap, or kippa, in Berlin as an experiment was subjected to verbal abuse by three people and was lashed with a belt by a Syrian Palestinian. A video was posted on the internet.

That followed reports of bullying of Jewish children in schools. Thousands of Germans wearing Jewish caps took part in nationwide rallies on Wednesday to show solidarity with the Jewish community.

Official figures for the first eight months of 2017 showed nearly 93 percent of reported anti-Semitic crimes were linked to far-right extremism, despite predictions that a big jump in the Muslim population since Europe’s 2015 migrant crisis could fuel attacks or discrimination against Jews.

Klein stressed that anti-Semitism had been a problem in Germany long before the refugee influx and added that Jewish institutions here and in other countries had needed police protection before migrants started coming in large numbers.

“Anti-Semitism is not only Muslim-driven in Germany,” he said. “Of course we have a new challenge and new forms of anti-Semitism which we have to address and combat, but the great problem also rests with right-wing anti-Semitism and we have to develop good strategies to combat that, as we did before.”

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Categories: anti-Semitism, combat anti-Semitism, Fascism, Felix Klein, Germany, Muslim, Muslim population, News

Christians should not be second-class citizens, cardinal tells Saudi Arabia

A senior Vatican official who last week made a historic visit to Saudi Arabia says he told authorities in the kingdom, where non-Muslim worship is banned, that Christians cannot be considered second-class citizens.

French cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran’s trip, the first by such a senior Catholic figure, raised hopes of more openness in the kingdom, which is home to Islam’s holiest sites but bans the practice of other faiths. It included a meeting with King Salman, his first with a Catholic official.

“I think all religions are faced with two dangers: terrorism and ignorance,” Tauran, who is head of the Vatican’s Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, told Vatican Radio.

“During my meetings, I insisted very much on this point, that Christians and non-Muslims are spoken of well in schools and that they are never considered second-class citizens,” he said.

Tauran, 75, who signed a cooperation accord with Saudi authorities, said he sensed that they wanted “to show that even in Saudi Arabia there is the possibility of discussion, and therefore of changing the country’s image”.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has promised to promote interfaith dialogue as part of his domestic reforms in the deeply conservative kingdom.

The young prince has rocketed to the pinnacle of power, pushing a reform agenda called Vision 2030 aimed at weaning the country off oil and introducing social changes.

As part of his push for a more moderate Islam, the crown prince has loosened social restrictions, scaling back the role of religious police and permitting public concerts. The government also announced plans to allow women to drive this year.

“The new generation can really help ‘change gears,’ in a certain sense,” Tauran said.

Tauran’s visit followed a flurry of meetings between senior Saudi figures and representatives of other Christian denominations.

Last month in London, the Crown Prince met the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who is spiritual head of the worldwide Anglican communion.

Lebanon’s Christian Maronite Patriarch visited Saudi Arabia in November. Patriarch Beshara al-Rai heads the Maronite church, which has a presence in Lebanon, Syria and Cyprus and follows an Eastern rite of the Roman Catholic church.

Most Christians in Saudi Arabia are migrant workers and diplomats. Since churches are banned, they worship in private homes.

In 1995, on the same day Rome’s first mosque opened with the Vatican’s blessing, the late Pope John Paul pointedly noted in a speech that “In some Islamic countries, similar signs of recognition of religious freedom are lacking”.

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Categories: Christians, Crown Prince, King Salman, News, Saudi Arabia, Vatican

Times coverage of Muslim foster case was distorted, Ipso finds

The Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso) has ruled that the Times newspaper had distorted its coverage of a fostering placement in the London borough of Tower Hamlets.

The Times ran three front-page headlines in August 2017 after the five-year-old child was removed from her mother’s care and placed with a Muslim family until assessments about the suitability of the child’s maternal grandmother, herself Muslim, were complete.

Notice of the ruling appeared on the Times front page on April 25, and the ruling will enforce a larger apology on page six, or further forward.

Tower Hamlets Borough Council complained about the accuracy (Clause 1) in an article headlined “Judge rules child must leave Muslim foster home” published on August 30, 2017.

The August 30 story followed earlier coverage which focused on the cultural and religious needs of a Christian child which were alleged to have not been by met by her Muslim foster carers. Allegations later rejected or found to be unsubstantiated by Tower Hamlets borough council.

Ipso upheld the complaint, noting that the council had every intention of placing the child with her maternal grandmother once assessments were complete. The original article gave the impression that the judge’s decision had ruled against the council’s assessment in organising the foster placements. The adjudication adds this was not “what the court had decided, or an implication of what the court had decided.”

Ipso, however, did not uphold the complaint that it was an omission to exclude the Muslim background of her maternal grandmother in the August 30 coverage, as she was a non-practising Muslim. Information the committee pointed out was included in the Times coverage a day later.

The Times coverage alleged that foster family had prevented the child from wearing a crucifix and consuming her favourite meal because it contained bacon and forcing her to learn Arabic.

Subsequent coverage claimed the child had informed her biological mother that “European women are stupid and alcoholic” and “Christmas and Easter are stupid”, adding that she ‘sobbed’ and ‘begged’ not to return to the foster family because they ‘did not’ speak English.

Tower Hamlets Council investigated the claims in November and said the allegations were unfounded, which the biological mother disputes.

The child’s maternal grandmother said that the child could or would not make such statements about European women. A social worker found that the child could not identify where Europe is.

A social worker found that the child had no negative views of Christmas and Easter. In fact, the opposite was true, as the child spoke of their excitement about such holidays, adding that she partook in an Easter egg hunt at the foster carer’s home and was given an egg by this carer. She even brought this egg with her to contact with her biological mother to share.

East London family court found the girl had a “warm and appropriate” relationship with her foster carers and missed them after she went to live with her maternal grandmother. Her maternal grandmother was angry with the press coverage as she appreciated the care and commitment the foster carers had provided. The child had even requested to see the family again.

Nor was the child prevented from eating bacon or forced to speak Arabic.

The first foster carer, with whom the child spent most of the time with, wore the hijab (headscarf), not the niqab or burqa. Her respite foster carer did wear such clothing outside of the home. This photograph, while pixellated, appeared on the Times front page on August 28, 2017, leaving some in Tower Hamlets borough council fearing that the coverage would identify the child and foster carers, according to the Guardian.

A decision was taken to place the child into care in March 2017 after the police exercised their powers of protection. There was, however, no ‘culturally matched’ placement available at the time.

The mother continued to have regular supervised visits with her daughter, which extended to telephone calls and calls to her grandmother.

Due to the intense media coverage of the story, which extended far beyond the Times coverage and into other tabloids, a rare decision was taken to publish the court order on August 29, 2017.

It emerged that the mother had to voluntarily submit hair and liver samples to test for cocaine and alcohol.

Others criticised the coverage of the MailOnline and the Daily Mail which included the editing of a stock photo of a Muslim woman.

The furore even had a political dimension, with some MPs calling for an enquiry.

The British far-right seized upon the story. On YouTube, a video by the ex-leader and founder of the English Defence League, Tommy Robinson, has been viewed over fifty-thousand times. Katie Hopkins tweeted: “Which individual at Tower Hamlets was responsible for the abuse of this little girl?”

The story took on an international dimension with the American conspiracy theorist Alex Jones highlighting the story on August 28, 2017. Kirralie Smith, the political activist in the far-right Australian Liberty Alliance party, tweeted the MailOnline’s initial coverage while criticising multiculturalism.

Several months later, and a day before Ipso upheld the council’s complaint, a senior Times executive acknowledged the story caused “enormous offence and enormous upset” but defended the coverage, adding that the judge agreed that their coverage raised important questions and was in the public interest.

The Times did also make serious allegations that the local authority had attempted to block the story, including preventing court access for their journalists, which was lifted by Judge Sapnara.

In broader terms, however, the story does point to a gap in recruiting minority groups to become foster carers.

A BuzzFeed News investigation by Aisha Gani detailed how some Muslims have or fear discrimination when applying to become foster carers.

The most recent data shows that almost a quarter (24 per cent) of fostered children are from minority ethnic backgrounds (up 2 per cent on the previous year) and 14 per cent of all foster carers come from minority ethnic backgrounds. There was, however, a slight increase in the number of approved foster carers from minority ethnic backgrounds last year.

Credit: Ofsted/

Local authorities are recruiting a far higher number of white foster carers when compared to independent fostering agencies. And given that two-thirds of placements involve local authorities there “continues to be a risk that some children may be placed in households or with carers who are not able to meet all their needs.”



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Categories: fostering, IPSO, News, Times, Tower Hamlets

France expels radical imam to Algeria

France has expelled an imam of Islam’s strict Salafi branch for giving radical sermons seen as a threat, sending him to Algeria a day after the European Court of Human Rights gave a green light for the move, a source close to the case said on Friday.

French media said the imam, who has not been identified by authorities, was accused of making radical lectures against women, Jews and Shi’ite Muslims, allegations he denied. He was based at a mosque in the southern French city of Marseille.

The European Court of Human Rights had initially asked France to suspend the expulsion, after the imam’s lawyer had raised risks of torture, before saying on Thursday that additional information provided by French authorities had convinced it not to block the expulsion.

France, which has been targeted over the past three years by attacks claimed by Islamic State, announced in February steps including prison isolation zones and more stringent licensing rules for faith-based schools to combat what it calls a slow-burning threat from Islamist radicalisation.

The country has Europe’s largest Jewish and Muslim communities. The latter is estimated to number upwards of five million.

An Elabe poll last month showed 80 percent backed the expulsion of radicalised foreigners, while more than half of its respondents said Macron was not doing enough to counter terrorism.


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Categories: Algeria, European Court of Human Rights, France, Islamist, News, Radical Imam, Salafi

Antisemitism is Racism – Let’s Call It What It Is

We understand that members of key organisations representing Jewish communities are meeting with the leader of the opposition, the Rt Hon. Jeremy Corbyn MP. We truly hope that the concerns of these organisations that represent the majority of Jewish communities are heard and that a way is found to tackle antisemitism which is infiltrating and sitting in parts of the political left and the political far right. It seems that the connecting factor between these two polar ends is the scourge of the oldest hate in the world – antisemitism.

As a body countering hatred, prejudice and intolerance,  we believe that it is important to state something that is patently obvious to us, though which is used to create hierarchies of hate today. For example, thirty years ago, within anti-racism campaigns and agencies, the issue of antisemitism and the need to counter it, was always discussed. Today, it seems that anti-racist organisations have dropped any real consideration of antisemitism as racism, as though Jewish communities are suddenly the ones ‘doing the oppressing’ and inadvertently this also plays to antisemitic tropes of ‘Jews being all powerful’. This is how toxic antisemitism has entered parts of the left in our country. 

The fact is this. Jewish communities have protections in law, as do Sikh communities, around religiously and aggravated offences. The bar for prosecution for the former is lower than the bar for the latter. Jewish communities are therefore covered by provisions by the Race Relations Acts. This was established in the judgement in Mandla v. Dowell Lee (1983), where Jewish and Sikh communities were regarded as distinct racial groups. So, you could factually say that antisemitism is racism. It really is as simple as that.

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Categories: Antisemitism, hate, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Jewish communities, Jews, Mandla, Opinions

Stafford Event for Polish Families is Deeply Troubling Because of Links

An event for Polish families in Stafford on May 12 will feature a lecture by a controversial historian who has links to the neo-fascist National Radical Camp (ONR) group in Poland, a Faith Matters investigation has revealed.

The speaker, Leszek Żebrowski, was labelled an antisemite in a 2016 article published by Gazeta Wyborcza.

The event, hosted by the White Eagle Club, promises bouncy castles, a barbeque, and face painting, will also see an appearance from the controversial GROM Legion group.


A Facebook event page has already attracted interested.

The event poster also sees sponsorship from the Ogniwo (The Link) which promotes itself as a self-styled ‘patriotic group’ but whose membership attracts neo-Nazis.

Rafal Pankowski, an academic who works for the Polish anti-hate charity Never Again, noted that Żebrowski continues to deny Polish involvement in the anti-Jewish pogroms in Jedwabne and Kielce.

Żebrowski appeared in a photograph of the Irish chapter of the ONR following a brief speaking tour in May last year which included events in Dublin, Cork, and Limerick.


He appeared in an ONR promotional video concerning the March 1 march to commemorate the ‘cursed soldiers’ and by organising such rallies, allows the extreme right to posit themselves as torch-bearers for this form of Polish patriotism, according to the historian Rafał Wnuk. Żebrowski was also photographed at an ONR rally last year. 

Commemorations for this event in Slough, London in February 2017, included an event where the extremist former priest, Jacek Międlar, infamous for his antisemitic and anti-Muslim views, was listed alongside Żebrowski as guest speakers. Międlar has twice failed to enter the UK to attend two Britain First rallies in February and June and remains banned due to his extreme views.

A video of the Slough event, uploaded by Piotr Szlachtowicz to YouTube, confirms Żebrowski’s presence, at the timestamp of 7:21.

The views of Szlachtowicz do also appear in the Faith Matters report.

Razem Londyn, the London branch of the left-wing Polish political party Razem (Together), condemned the potential presence of Żebrowski and Międlar in Slough in a Facebook post on February 22, 2017.

Leszek Żebrowski shared a flyer for the same commemorative event in Slough a year earlier.

On Facebook, Żebrowski promotes the Holocaust revisionism of Jan Peczkis, who writes long screeds on Amazon and other obscure blogs. In one example Peczkis  wrote: “All attention is focused on the suffering of Jews and almost completely ignores crimes committed on the Slavic nations like Poles, treating them as second-class victims.”

Nor does this view exist in insolation, our report into contemporary and historical forms of antisemitism and anti-Muslim hatred and racism in Poland highlights how parts of the Polish right attempt to use historiography to reshape a collective memory which favours and exceptionalities Polish suffering collectively under Nazism. This form of revisionism also serves to erase discussions about how some Poles were complicit in antisemitism and antisemitic violence before, during, and after the Second World War.

This view has found ground in more mainstream circles, including in the works of Richard Lukas, who is not without controversy and has been accused by one eminent Holocaust scholar of publishing a book which ‘borders’ on antisemitism.

Peczkis has made various antisemitic comments in his Amazon reviews, including “THE USA AND EUROPEAN UNION AS TOOLS FOR PROMOTING JEWISH INTERESTS AT POLAND’S EXPENSE.” It is, therefore, no surprise to see Żebrowski promoting such views to his large Facebook audience.

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Categories: Grom Legion, Leszek Żebrowski, National Radical Camp, Never Again, News, ONR, Rafal Pankowski, White Eagle Club, Zebrowski

Paris attacks suspect jailed for 20 years for Belgian attempted murder

A Belgian court sentenced Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam and a co-accused to 20 years in prison on Monday for trying to kill police during a shootout in Brussels in 2016.

Judge Marie-France Keutgen told the courtroom that 28-year-old Abdeslam and Tunisian Sofien Ayari, 24, had been found guilty of “attempted terrorist murder” during the shootout in March 2016.

Abdeslam is in a French prison awaiting trial for his role in the Islamic State attacks in Paris in November 2015 in which 130 people were killed. Prosecutors say he is the lone survivor of a suicide squad.

Neither he nor Ayari, who is in custody in Belgium, was present for the judgement.

Despite the absence of both accused, security was tight around the Brussels court, with heavily armed police on guard.

By the time of the shootout in the Brussels district of Forest on March 15, 2016, Abdeslam had been in hiding for four months after fleeing Paris the night his elder brother blew himself up at a cafe.

Prosecutors who accuse Abdeslam of helping organise the attacks and ferry former fighters from Syria around Europe say he, too, would have died if his suicide vest had not failed to detonate. His lawyers do not dispute Abdeslam was in Paris during the attacks.

They finally stumbled across him when, with French officers, they went to inspect a suspect apartment in Forest and then came under a hail of gunfire which wounded four of them.

After a three-hour siege ended with marksmen killing a 35-year-old Algerian called Mohamed Belkaid, police found an arms cache.

Abdeslam’s DNA found at the scene linked him to the shootout and that led to his arrest three days later in a different apartment in Brussels.

Four days after his arrest, suicide bombers attacked Brussels Airport and the city’s metro, killing 32 people. Officials believe Abdeslam had links with the bombers and that they brought forward their attack because they feared Abdeslam might reveal their plans under interrogation.

Abdeslam was present on the opening day of the trial, but refused to answer the judge’s questions.

His lawyer Sven Mary told reporters on Monday that he discuss the case with his client before determining whether to appeal.

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Categories: 20 Years, Abdeslam, Brussels, Islamist terrorist, Mohamed Belkaid, News, Paris, terrorist

The Battle Against Extremism is Being Lost. Is it Time To Bail Out?

For years, Faith Matters has been working to ensure that people and communities in our country, have a stake in their future and in decision making. We know full well, that disaffection and alienation are avenues by which extremists can manipulate young men and women in these vulnerable positions.

Both far right and Islamist extremists have been working for years to foment hatred and division in our communities. Yet, it is also clear that both have been feeding off each other and squeezing the middle ground of balanced opinion that is so much part of our country.

Take for example, the fact that the UK took in so many Islamist extremists who came from countries where torture and persecution were part of the norm, in places like Algeria, Libya and Syria. Whilst many fled because of persecution, by taking them into the UK, we effectively stored up problems for the future. Which leads to this question. Whilst we value the position of human rights, which is a fundamental part of the values of our country, did we truly believe that incoming Islamist extremists would be model citizens, given that many of them had bought into violent Jihad as a means of implementing their views? Did we think that they would stop their activities in the UK? Did we even consider that they would try and access Muslim communities in order to promote their sectarian, Jew-hatred and violent Jihad in our country? By allowing active Salafist Jihadists into our country, we let down the vast majority of British Muslims who were not part of this extremism and who wanted to simply practice and get on with their lives. 

We also let Islamist extremist proselytise and foment their hatred in Muslim communities and within time, their message and narrative overlaid any sense of attachment to the State within some sections of Muslim communities. It was a failed and disastrous policy that has led to social problems which many of us have had to tackle.

Muscular Liberalism

On the other side, the State has only started to use its ‘muscular liberalism’ against far right activists and groups. The Home Secretary has banned National Action and a handful of far right groups. Yet, the fact is that far right groups have splintered and are well organised and entrenched online. Their hatred of Muslims is spawning plots to harm Muslims and Muslim institutions and the State’s actions against these groups has been slow off the mark. This allied to the ‘anything goes’ attitude of social media companies, who held this position for years, meant that the hatred from far right groups consolidated the reciprocal hatred towards western values and society emanating from Islamist extremist groups. 

Faith Matters has been working to tackle both ends of the extremist spectrum for over a decade now. Yet, we cannot continue to push ahead if there is no real stomach by this and future governments who sit inactively whilst civil society groups are harassed, targeted and undermined in this battle against extremism. There comes a time when we must disengage and step out for the sake of our resources and frankly, our security. That time is coming close, unless this Government can clearly show that it is committed and has the stomach to push back in a concerted way against such groups. 

There is still a small window of hope. However, that hope is fading fast.

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Categories: Far Right groups, Government, Home Secretary, Muscular Liberalism, National Action, Opinions

Stabbing of Asian Man in Rotherham Reported into Tell MAMA

Tell MAMA was contacted by one of three young men of Pakistani heritage, who described a stabbing incident by four white males, aged in their early twenties. The individual who was in the vehicle in which the driver was stabbed, spoke of going with his friends to get something from a local shop in Rotherham Town Centre. As the vehicle drove into the town centre and as they were looking to park, another vehicle blocked their path and three males exited the vehicle. 

The white males shouted racially abusive terms to the Asian young men who were in their late teens and early twenties. As they drew near the vehicle with the Asian young men within it, the driver attempted to get out and was stabbed in the process of exiting the vehicle. According to one of the young men in the vehicle which was attacked, he has been hospitalised.

During the attack, the white males also threw alcohol into the vehicle with the Asian youths and attempted to try and light some liquid that they had poured into the car. They also attempted to assault the other two Asian males in the vehicle after the stabbing of the driver.

Sunday sees the 25th anniversary of the murder of the Black teenager, Stephen Lawrence, at a bus stop in Eltham, South London. Much has changed in this country, since that brutal murder, a quarter of a century ago. Yet, the scourge of racially driven attacks is still a menace that we must counter and challenge within society.

Speaking to Tell MAMA on the attack, one of the youths in the vehicle which was attacked stated:

“This could have happened to anyone and it was a random attack. It could have happened to a family with kids and thankfully it did not. Sadly, we were confronted with this. I am just thankful that a family was not involved in this brutal attack”.

If you have any information on this attack, please do not hesitate to contact South Yorkshire Police on 101. You can also contact us on Tell MAMA and we will ensure that the relevant force contact gets in touch.

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Categories: Asian, Muslim, News, Rotherham

Neo-Fascist ONR, Obóz Narodowo-Radykalny, Offshoot in Manchester

Oboz Narodowo-Radykalny, (ONR), is also known as the National Radical Camp. It is a fascist and far right organisation which considers itself to be a legacy of the antisemitic movement of the same name which existed during the Second World War.

Three days ago, members of the ONR celebrated an anniversary of the organisation in Gdansk, the heartland of the ‘Solidarnosc’ or Solidarity movement. It was the 84th anniversary of the movement and hosting the march with uniform clad individuals in the heart of Gdansk was a chilling message sent out to others in the nation. Gdansk holds a special place in the heart of many Poles as it was the start of the liberation movement from Communism. By marching in Gdansk, the message was clear, that far right groups were part of Poland. 

Speaking at the event held in a historic hall in Gdansk, the former ONR chairman Artur Zienkiewicz said,

“Poland must remain uniformly culturally and homogeneously ethnic. We will defend our frontiers against immigrants.”

According to Gazeta Wyborcza, a march took place in the streets of Gdansk with several hundred uniformed marchers shouting slogans which included, “we will fight for the Homeland” and “Great Poland, we will defend our holy faith”.

This is a menacing video of ONR members walking through the streets of Gdansk.

In response to this march, the legendary Solidarnosc leader and former President of Poland, Lech Walesa, waded in with the following tweets:

Walesa’s Twitter comment highlighted the threat that he saw coming from the ONR

“Are these the “values” Poles fought in December 1970 and August 1980 in Gdańsk? I ask when PiS delegalise them? What do we all wait until they occupy (the) authorities?”

Tentacles to Manchester


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Categories: Lech Walesa, neo-fascism, News, ONR, PiS, Solidarnosc